chapter  8
78 Pages

Regulation of Brain Development and Age-Related Changes in Infants' Motives: The Developmental Function of Regressive Periods

Asking if there are "age-related events" in an infant's psychology-specific ages when the interests, actions, and emotions of most healthy infants change significantly in a short time-acknowledges advances in dynamic systems theory. This theory, which overcomes the limitations of simplistic linear causal explanations and allows formal analysis of emergent order in multicomponent systems, is attractive to scientists attempting to model the brain and its functions in artificial mechanisms or formulations. It proposes that psychological functions "emerge" within "complex dynamic systems" of cells, brain networks, body parts, cognitive representations, pattern-recognizing and problem-solving modules, object-directed behaviors, and social relationships, all of which are inherently plastic in response to their environments, interacting with one another, and variable in their development (de Weerth & van Geert, 2000; Fogel & Thelen, 1987; Hopkins, 2001; Kauffman, 1993; M. D. Lewis & Granic, 2000a, 2000b; Pantoja, Nelson-Goens, & Fogei, 2001; Thelen, 1995; Van Geert, 1994).